Garmin introduced two new high-end models to its sports watch portfolio on Tuesday: fēnix 7 . series and the epix Gen 2. They are both very similar, but when the two fēnix 7 models use a pixel-flash screen, the epix Gen 2 has an OLED screen. Improvements to the 2019 fēnix 6 Series include multi-band GNSS for precise positioning, an improved Solor glass for faster sunlight charging, a new heart rate monitor, an improved race finish time prediction, and a live display of your ability and energy level. In addition, the new watches are equipped with a touch screen, as well as operating buttons.
In this comprehensive preview, we discuss the epix Gen 2 Sapphire Titanium, the most expensive version of the epix Gen 2. The suggested retail price is 999 euros: a lot of money to buy a smartwatch. Do you also get a lot of viewing in return? We tested epix for a week and shared our experiences. The reason this article is called a preview and not a review is because we were not able to properly evaluate all functionality during the limited testing time. That’s why we’ll be back on epix Gen 2 soon for a spin with more smartwatches.
Where most smartwatch manufacturers carry at most a few different models, it’s very different with Garmin. Until a few years ago, the American manufacturer focused mainly on active athletes, and therefore developed a series of models such as Pioneer, intended for runners and cyclists, and the most expensive fēnixModels for triathletes. In recent years, more versions of lifestyle-oriented models have been added, such as VivosmartAnd Vivomov in a came, while also exclusive watch connoisseurs MarkThe series has been launched. Garmin also offers many different models within this different model series.
This also applies to the fēnix 7 introduced today and the epix Gen 2 based on it. The new ring is in name the successor to the first watch, from 2015, which combined sports and navigation functions. In practical terms, the epix Gen 2 is a fēnix 7 in terms of appearance and function, but with an OLED display. Garmin itself doesn’t seem to know quite yet what it wants to call epix Gen 2. The spellings we see on the website, in marketing materials, and in Garmin’s own app are “epix (Gen2),” “EPIX,” and “epix.” We stick to “epix” in this article.
fēnix 7 will be available in no fewer than eight variants, not including the different color versions. The first is the “basic” fēnix 7, which is available in three different sizes with or without a solar glass, allowing the watch to charge with the falling sunlight. Then there’s the sapphire version with toughened sapphire solar glass and titanium case, which is also available in three sizes. This sapphire version is also available in many colors and with different bracelets, with some models only being sold through jewelers. Prices for fēnix 7 models start at €699 and go up to €1199.
All fuses have in common that they have a reflective LCD screen. This type of screen reflects the incident light and thus becomes more readable the more light on it, making it ideal for outdoor sports. Another advantage is that monitors use (almost) no power as long as the pixels are not refreshed, so watches with this type of display have an always-on display and, as a rule, days of working time can easily be obtained from a single battery charge. There are also drawbacks. For example, the image is not rich in contrast, colors look relatively dull and response speed is limited, which makes reflective screens less attractive than, for example, OLED screens.
Fēnix 7 + oled = epix
For this reason, Garmin now also comes with the epix, a watch that uses the same base as the fēnix 7 series, but is equipped with an OLED display that looks much nicer and also has a significantly higher resolution. The use of an OLED display also has drawbacks, of course, and they can be guessed. In direct sunlight, clarity is less good, and especially in always-on mode, the screen makes a difference in battery life.
fēnix 7 models last a maximum of 37 days on a battery charge, according to Garmin, that’s a maximum of 5 days with all smartwatch and display functions on always-on. That’s still pretty good for a watch with an OLED display, and if you choose to only turn the screen on when you turn the watch toward your face with a wake-up gesture, the claimed battery life increases to 16 days.
“Lifelong zombie fanatic. Hardcore web practitioner. Thinker. Music expert. Unapologetic pop culture scholar.”